Rain, the game Mother Nature has been playing with spring athletic schedules, especially in the state of Wisconsin appears to have no end. Since the calendar turned to the month of April, hundreds of games have been postponed or canceled because of inclement weather and unplayable field conditions at the collegiate level.
Several universities have yet to play a home game, forcing teams to scramble to find venues to play at in an attempt to get as many games completed before conference tournaments begin.
However, Concordia University Wisconsin has not experienced the headache and travel schedule of its counterparts because of ProGrass synthetic turf on its baseball, softball, lacrosse and football fields. At CUW, having top-notch facilities has moved several road games to Kapco Park, CUW Softball Field and Fitting Field, which has allowed Falcons teams to stay at home for much of the year.
Each CUW athletic field is playable in most weather situations, while rain and snow has forced cancelations and postponements elsewhere. The Falcons baseball team is a perfect example of a program benefiting from a field undeterred by the weather.
Kapco Park, which opened in April 2012, has been the site of each of the Falcons first 14 games since returning from Florida, six of which were moved on campus because of unplayable conditions at other venues. CUW's streak of home games will reach 18 consecutive at Kapco Park on April 20, meaning the Falcons are scheduled to play just five road games this season.
"We are blessed to have some of the best athletic facilities in the Midwest," Barnhill said. "These facilities provide our student athletes with a tremendous playing and practice advantage over our competition as well as avoiding missed class time."
CUW baseball games aren't the only contests going on at Kapco Park, as several other teams are turning to the Falcons Athletic Department in hopes of using our facilities to host games. MSOE is scheduled to play four games on the CUW campus, Maranatha Baptist Bible College took on Marian University in a doubleheader and other teams have contacted Director of Athletics Dr. Rob Barnhill in last ditch efforts as spring schedules near their end.
"We are pleased to provide usage opportunities to other institutions when available as it benefits our conference as a whole," Barnhill added.
The baseball team isn't the only CUW squad that has added home games during the rainy and cold spring season. The Falcons softball team has already had six games moved to the CUW Softball Field because other teams in the Northern Athletics Conference have unplayable fields. Just like in baseball, the softball team will have played numerous games at home, 10 in a row and 16-of-18 during a two week stretch, since returning from their spring trip.
"If I am a parent of a prospective student-athlete or a recruited student-athlete, I believe that these quality athletic facilities should have an impact on their choice of where to invest their higher education dollar," Director of Athletics Dr. Rob Barnhill said.
The excellent facilities have also been a benefit for the CUW men's and women's lacrosse teams as well this spring. While the Falcons haven't added any home events due to the weather, having a field they know will be ready, rain or shine, is a benefit for the student-athlete.
The days when CUW had grass fields overcome with rain, mud and snow are no longer. Falcon student-athletes will now walk out of their locker rooms and onto the playing fields, rather than traveling to various venues around the area in hopes they can get a game completed because of unplayable field conditions.